Sunday, November 18, 2012

A walk through a rainforest

(Good GRIEF, this is my 1500th blog post!!!!! You know what, I'll figure out some sort of giveaway for that. If you leave a comment on this post, you're automatically entered! Deadline is November 25th)

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One of the highlights of our recent trip to Tobago was a four-hour hike through the beautiful Tobago Rainforest Reserve, which claims to be the oldest protected forest in the western hemisphere. It was declared a protected Crown reserve in 1776, and has been protected ever since. This forest is an absolute Caribbean gem. We hired a guide named Fitzroy Quamina, who was excellent.

First, he showed us the den of a trapdoor spider:


I put the flap back down as we left. 

He also found us many exquisite birds, of which I have no photos. Perhaps the most beautiful was the White-tailed Sabrewing hummingbird. I watched through my binoculars as it flitted around in shafts of sunlight piercing the thick canopy overhead.

There were lots of wonderful things in the lush green rainforest. I liked this bracket fungi...




And hello! A leafcutter ant! These ants cut leaves to take back to their colonies. They then use them as a substrate for growing the fungus that they feed their larvae...


And here was my favourite of Fitzroy's finds (nice alliteration, eh?)


What have we here?


Yes, a snake. In fact, a boa constrictor that was approximately four feet long. I think Fitzroy was more than a little surprised that I didn't run screaming from it, but I love snakes. Those new to my blog may not know that I spent a very long time illustrating a kids' book called Katie of the the Sonoran Desert.  I think snakes are amazing.

This poor guy had a fcouple of ticks on his head:



One was fully engorged, while the other was just settlign in for a meal.


Yuck. I hate ticks and I have picked many off the dogs and Alex this year. A really bad tick year in these parts. 

Fitzroy managed to knock the fat tick off the snake with a stick.


And yes, I touched the snake. Very briefly, back near the tail. I couldn't help myself.


I also fell in love with these little guys...


The Blackback Land crab, aka Red Land crab. This little guy backed up into Fitzroy's boot and looked as fierce as possible.


Here he looks like an orchestra conductor! 



He was so defensive, but I couldn't stop laughing at his cuteness.




When the crabs mature, they lose their red colouring and look like this:


This fellow was very well camouflaged and not impressed with my attempts to photograph him.




There were large clumps of bamboo scattered throughout the forest. See the graffiti?


And not surprisingly, it rained a lot.


Which led to many spectacular waterfalls.


We all got rained on. And I gave up on my hair on day one of our trip. It has a mind of its own when the humidity is as high as it is on Tobago! My first souvenir was a bandanna  to wrap around my unruly frizz.

Here's Gordon, drying out with Fitzroy.



Fitzroy showed us many wonderful waterfalls...




And our feet got a little muddy!


It was a strenuous hike, but the four hours just whipped by and I was sad when it was time to leave.


Gordon looked fresh as a daisy, unlike me!



Paradise on earth.




52 comments:

  1. Looks wonderful. I had no idea that snakes could get ticks; nasty. I love land crabs. I've seen them marching by the million.

    Congrats on 1500. I'm way back on 1000.

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    1. I hadn't realized snakes get ticks either, but I guess everything does!! Poor things. And I would love to see land crabs on the march!

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  2. Lovely montage as usual.

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  3. I think the rainforest is my favourite part of your trip! I want to pet a boa!

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  4. Looks wonderful there in the rainforest on Tobago !
    My mom-person did know that snakes can get ticks and my mom-person is not the sreaming type either if she see´s a snake.
    My mom and dad-person had 2 LARGE Boa Constrictors about 10 years ago :)

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    1. I LIKE your Mom person!! :)

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  5. Congratulations on 1500. And specially: MERCI! I have learned so much visiting you. And this 4-hour-hike, in a rain forest, is such an enchanting post. I never cease to wonder! My walker and I followed you, every minute, mud and all. But NO I did not touch the boa! Relieved you're still all there!

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    1. It was a very quick touch, right near the tail, very gentle. :) Glad you enjoyed your armchair adventure, Claude.

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  6. Wow, this 1500th post is an awesome one about Tobago! Sounds like you had a great time and congrats on 1500th post! :-)

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    1. Thank you Ivy! Nice to see you again!

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  7. There are so many special places that I will never visit but I love visiting them vicariously through other's blogs. Wonderful photos as always. I was also shocked at the wood ticks on the boa. (Didn't you really want to pull the nasty things off?)

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    1. I did! I'm glad Fitzroy got it off with a stick. We all felt sorry for the poor snake.

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  8. I had never heard of land crabs--but this little fellow was magnificent. Too bad they lose their red color. Not a fan of snakes, but I have to admit, I love your book and was fascinated about Katie's life. The boa constrictor is pretty remarkable and I hope the rain forest stays in tact for his home.

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    1. They are doing a good job of preserving that forest, and since it has been looked after since 1776, I'm hopeful it will stay the treasure it is.

      The crabs were so endearing.

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  9. I can see the thought bubble above the land crab's head, "AH! Giants! HaHA! You can't sneak up on me! I've backed myself up against a secure rock, so there will be no surprises! Okay, which one of you is first! Bring it!" ;)


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    1. That's it exactly! I was laughing the whole time because they were just like little cartoon characters. They tried so hard to be fierce. :)

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  10. It truly looks like Paradise on Earth! I like snakes, too, but at the same time I am afraid of them (glad the snake got rid of at least one tick). Those little crabs look so darn cute, little warriors that they are:)

    I am now curious about the giveaway:))

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    1. I wouldn't have petted a cobra! :)

      I will definitely be entering you in the giveaway!

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  11. No boas here, but we got ticks. They like our cows. Crabs are so interesting and comical to watch. And, Wow! 1500 posts!! I'm very far away from that number, like way down there.

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    1. Every creature seems to have its tick. The ticks have been really bad around here this year.

      You'll get to 1500 soon enough ! :)

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  12. Glad the camera survived the humidity, even if your hair didn't!

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    1. I kept it under the raincoat when it was pouring!

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  13. How beautiful! We don't like ticks here either. Those were HUGE. Blech blech. Thank you for sharing your lovely trip with us!

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    1. Isobelle, today I put GOATS from Tobago in my post!!

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  14. looks amazing...but I must admitt I would have run from the forest at first sight of that big ole snake ...

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    1. The snake was very still and very calm. I think Fitzroy expected me to run screaming. :)

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  15. I love my Keens...are they the best or what?

    Congrats on 1500 posts...and thank you for the crabby photos...I am so often crabby myself I consider 'em my totem!

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    1. THis is my first pair and they are fantastic!!! I just love 'em!

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  16. I'll admit I felt a bit guilty when I laughed at the uber cute crab, but felt much better when I read that you did too. The snakes was awesome, but knocking ticks off with stick? I felt a bit sorry for old slytherin. Ticks suck! (oh teeheehee).
    Jane x

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    1. The crabs were too adorable. I still giggle when I see their pictures! Gordon wants a pet crab now.

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  17. Anonymous5:50 pm

    Throughly enjoy your blog and congrats on the 1500 posts.

    Maria

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    1. Thank you Maria! I'm so happy you read and enjoy my blog.

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  18. The hike scenery looks stupendous. You can't stand to see doors left open, can you? LOL The tick gave me shivers -- thank goodness for the too-cute crab.

    Janet

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    1. The tick was the grossest thing I saw on my whole trip! I love all kinds of bug and animals and creatures, but ticks just gross me out. I hate picking them off my dogs and cats!!

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  19. Congratulations on post #1500! Wow! Quite an accomplishment.
    You had an awesome trip with lots of good stories and photos. I'm enjoying every one of them.

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    1. Thanks Red! I am grateful to have loyal readers like you. Makes me very happy!!

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  20. WOW!!! thanks for the tour! Those crabs are soooo cute and full of character! Poor big o' snake with ticks. Were'nt you worried to get ticks on yourself?

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    1. Well, we pretty much stayed on the path so I wasn't too worried. I worry more at home, when I am walking through long grass frequented by deer!

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  21. Beautiful pictures and a lot of animals. Have a nice week.

    Hugs

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    1. I wish I were still there!

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  22. Quite a wonderful hike! Especially the little crabs - so full of personality.

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    1. Makes me want to draw them!

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  23. Wow! Amazing photos!

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  24. OK, this place looks amazing. Your photos are brilliant. And you are a vision in your humid hair.

    But, "Paradise on earth"??? Don't you remember the spiders, snakes, land crabs, ant colonies, and mud? I'm so grateful you can go and then tell me about it. Paradise on earth...

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    1. Welllll, you might have liked the beaches, flowers, good food, and brelly drinks!! :)
      But you definitely won't be liking my next, bee-filled post!! :0

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  25. Fitzroy in his thick high wellies must have laughed at your far from sensible shoes, especially with mighty ticks and snakes and crabs and all manner of crawly biting things around. I admire your courage (or silliness? :)

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    1. Ugh, I would have slipped and killed myself in those rubber boots! I fell once anyway, while navigating slippery rocks to get closer to a waterfall. :)

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  26. That crab is so cute, I love how he backed himself up to the welly!

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    1. Me too!! Adorable little creatures, waving their pincers around in the air!

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Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!